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From Paul Schrader to Noah Baumbach: The 10 best Amanda Seyfried films on Netflix

“It was a big deal for me to play characters and feel things and connect to somebody in a fake world.” -Amanda Seyfried 

Amanda Seyfriend has spent nearly fifteen years in Hollywood and has delivered wonderful performances. With her bright green eyes and a sweet smile accentuating the lovely heart-shaped face, Seyfried has won us over with her various performances. Although not all her films have received positive reviews, her performances have always been the highlight of the pictures; people often watch these films just to see her brilliant on-screen persona. Seyfried cannot be typecast into one single genre as she has starred in thrillers, rom-coms, musicals as well as horror films. 

Well-known for her roles in films like Mean Girls, First Reformed, Red Riding Hood and Mamma Mia!, Seyfried has often starred alongside heavyweight actors. However, that has never stopped her from making her own mark in the films, often superseding the talented bunch. She has worked with a wide range of directors, ranging from independent filmmakers like Noah Baumbach and Diablo Cody to legendary auteurs like David Lynch and Paul Schrader. Seyfried has made a name for herself in the very short span she has had in the industry due to her impressive oeuvre of fitting into absolutely any character. 

On this splendid actor’s 34th birthday, let us take a look at the 10 best films she has starred in that are available for streaming on Netflix. 

The 10 best Amanda Seyfried films on Netflix right now:

10. Gone (Heitor Dhalia, 2012)

Jill Conway luckily escaped a brutal serial killer who held her captive, but nobody believes her. A year later, when her sister, Molly, is kidnapped, Jill suspects and later finds evidence that suggests the same serial killer has taken her captive. Having learnt from previous experience where she shall be sent to a mental institution as it is “all in her head”, Jill undertakes this perilous journey alone to save her sister and to bring herself justice. 

Amanda Seyfried plays the determine Jill who will go to any extent to save her sister. She is agile and witty and stops at nearly nothing. The plot is quite gripping but the film failed to generate favourable reviews at the box office. Yet, it is worth a watch due to the love the sisters have for each other as well as for Seyfried’s chilling vengeance. 

“He never existed. It was all in my head.”

9. Letters to Juliet (Gary Winick, 2010) 

Sophie, an American girl, visits Verona with her fiance who is too busy to spend time with her. Soon she visits the house where Shakespeare’s Juliet allegedly lived in; she finds an unanswered letter from a Claire Smith and vows to help the elderly woman reunite with her lover, Lorenzo Barolini, along with her grandson, the handsome and charming Charlie Wyman. Sophie and Charlie have an obvious attraction for one another and embark on this escapade together to reunite the old lovers. 

With beautiful scenery and a light-hearted, breezy setting, the film reeks of a fairytale romance. While Shakespeare’s Juliet was unlucky in her tragic story with Romeo, the couples in this film get their happy endings. Seyfried breathes in freshness into the film; she is lovely and likeable. 

No, no, no, because you see if I found the love of my life, I wouldn’t stand there like an idiot whispering in the garden. I would just grab her from that blasted balcony and be done with it.”

8. Jennifer’s Body (Diablo Cody, 2009)

When a succubus demon takes possession of the hot and popular high-schooler Jennifer, she embarks on a sexual carnage, seducing and subsequently brutally murdering the male population in the school, to feed the demon residing in her. When her nerdy best friend Needy gets a whiff of this, she decides to put an end to this. 

Megan Fox plays the sexy titular lead while Amanda Seyfried plays the nerdy Needy. She is the “plain Jane” best friend who bears a homoerotic infatuation toward Jennifer. The gorgeous women light up the screen and their wonderful performance binds the otherwise loose script together. Speaking of her character, Seyfried said, “Being a lead (like Megan), you have that weird pressure of feeling like you have to look attractive,” she stated. “In this movie, I didn’t worry about any of that shit. I don’t want to play the one that everybody is supposed to want to have sex with.”

You know what? You were never really a good friend. Even when we were little, you used to steal my toys and pour lemonade on my bed.”

7. Dear John (Lasse Hallstrom, 2010)

Based on Nicholas Sparks’ novel of the same name, the film follows John Tyree, who serves in the U.S. Amry Special Forces, and Savannah Lynn Curtis, who meet and fall in love. While they try and keep their romance alive through letters when John is deployed, the relationship fizzles out, despite them still having feelings for each other. Fate forces them to meet on numerous occasions wherein the story takes an interesting turn.

Although it is built in a cliched Nicholas Sparks framework, it is a tearjerker which might leave the viewers feeling empty and fulfilled at the same time. Channing Tatum as John and Seyfried as Savannah have beautiful on-screen chemistry. Seyfried’s character is heartwarming due to its empathetic nature. Dear John is essentially heartbreaking; two people are separated by the massive amount of affection they feel for each other. 

Two weeks together, that’s all it took. Two weeks for me to fall in love with you.”

6. Mamma Mia! (Phyllida Lloyd, 2008) 

Sophie Sheridan, the 20-year-old bride-to-be wants her father to walk her down the aisle on her wedding day. However, her mother, Donna is not sure of who her father is among her three flings. Unbeknownst to Donna, Sophie invites all three men to her wedding, hoping to find the real identity of her father, which leads to a string of hilarious events.

Lloyd recreates the Broadway musical on the gorgeous but fictional Grecian island of Kalokairi. Goofy and fun, the recreation of ABBA’s songs are splendid, as are the light, breezy and colourful visuals. Meryl Streep as Donna is resplendent. Seyfried plays the young and chirpy Sophie, shining brightly amidst the starry ensemble, desperately seeking her father’s identity. 

Somebody up there has got it in for me. I bet it’s my mother.”

5. Chloe (Atom Egoyan, 2009)

An erotic thriller closely adapted from the 2004 French film Nathalie, the plot revolves around a middle-aged couple David and Catherine whose ages have caused the sun to set on their sex life. Catherine wants to test David’s loyalty by hiring the seductress Chloe, whom she asks to go and flirt with David. Soon, Chloe develops feelings for Catherine and wants to be with her; the plot starts to spiral from here.

Thrilling and titillating, the film has a certain palpable sexual tension as well as an intriguing game of chase. Julianne Moore and Liam Neeson play the perfect couple, bickering and insecure. Moore’s constant need of attention stems from the insecurities regarding her fading youth. Amanda Seyfried as the lusty titular character is dangerous and seductive. She had been persuaded by the producer to star in the film. Moore said that Seyfried was a “very dependable” acting partner and that they did not have any awkwardness or tension while filming the intimate scenes. 

“This business transaction, which is what this was, is over!”

4. While We’re Young (Noah Baumbach, 2014)

The film revolves around a middle-aged New Yorker couple Josh and Cornelia Srebnick whose marriage is on the rocks. Josh is approached by a young, hipster couple after his college lecture where Jamie Massey claims to be a fan of his work. The older couple invites Jamie and Darby Massey over and they begin a beautiful friendship which slowly takes a different turn as their characters begin to unravel.  

In his second collaboration with Noah Baumbach, Adam Driver is effortless as the “stereotypical hipster filmmaker”. He is maddening and infuriating at times and delivers a stellar performance alongside bigshot talents like that of Ben Stiller, Naomi Watts, Amanda Seyfried and more. Seyfried plays his wife, meek and sweet, overshadowed by her pretentious partner. Seyfried’s dry humour and the subsequent ruffles in their relationship is entertaining to watch. Baumbach’s zany humour and brutally honest portrayal of events make While We’re Young “mostly engaging”.  

“I’ve learned along the way you can discover more by allowing yourself to be surprised by what you encounter.”

3. First Reformed (Paul Schrader, 2018)

Alluding subtly to Bergman’s Winter Light and Schrader’s own script for Taxi Driver, First Reformed was considered to be one of the best movies of 2018, and earned a nomination at the Academy, while bringing home various other prestigious awards. This American drama focuses on Toller, a Protestant pastor of an old Dutch Reformed Church, struggling with his own faith and personal loss; this is heightened by his encounter with a young couple where Michael, an orthodox environmentalist, is tormented by his beliefs and commits suicide, abandoning his pregnant wife, Mary. 

The film is appreciated for its “sensitive and suspenseful” look at weighty themes. Deliberately slow-paced, the film unfolds, in wonderful shots, a perfect study of a priest tormented by his crisis in faith, and anguish at not being able to help his troubled parishioner. Hawke’s moral struggle, as the angst-ridden priest, and eventual descent into madness and frenzy, is excruciating. Amanda Seyfriend plays the pregnant widow Mary Mensana who grapples with the untimely demise of the husband while battling new feelings for the pastor. Her child is the beacon of hope; Seyfried’s predicament and anguish evoke sympathy in the minds of the viewers. Toller survives as his suicide is interrupted by unexpected love and warmth which has a profound significance at the end of the film.  

“A life without despair is a life without hope. Holding these two ideas in our head is life itself.”  

2. Mean Girls (Mark Waters, 2004)

Cady Heron, a sixteen-year-old, who has never been to a real school, is suddenly thrown into North Shore High School where teenage emotions, hormones, angst and jealousy are rampant and raging. She encounters a group of mean girls, called the ‘Plastics’, which includes Karen Smith, Gretchen Wieners and the queen bee, Regina George. As Cady tries to grapple with the changing surroundings, making new friends and falling in love with Regina’s handsome ex, Aaron Samuels, she realises that high school is no different from the animal kingdom. 

With a brilliant ensemble cast, iconic dialogues and a funny yet moving screenplay, the film delves deep into the teenage psyche, exposing the four years of high school ridden with young love, jealousy, tantrums, rumours and fun. Lindsay Lohan read for Regina George’s part and so did Amanda Seyfriend. However, Lohan was given the leading role while Seyfried’s “spacey and daffy sense of humour” helped her bag the role of the animated and ditzy Karen Smith. 

“On Wednesdays, we wear pink!’

1. Les Miserables (Tom Hooper, 2012)

Based on Victor Hugo’s novel of the same name, the film revolves around Jean Valjean who spends 19 years as a prisoner. After he is released, he breaks parole to become a successful factory owner and mayor; he catches the attention of his old nemesis, Javert, the prison guard. Valjean is also the guardian of Fantine’s illegitimate daughter, Cosette, and helps her unite with her lover Marius; however, Javert’s relentless pursuit thwarts their peace and happiness. 

Mesmerising and compelling, the film’s excellence lies in the bravura of the outstanding ensemble cast who deliver incredibly moving performances. Amanda Seyfried plays Cosette, the illegitimate daughter of Fantine, played by Anne Hathaway. Seyfried had been hired a vocal coach to help train her vocals. Seyfried has revealed details about her role as Cosette saying, “In the little time that I had to explain Cosette and give the audience a reason [to see her as] a symbol of love and strength and light in this tragedy, I needed to be able to convey things you may not have connected with, in the show.” She is beautiful and heart-wrenching with an impeccable voice. Social injustice takes the main ground, accentuated by the spectacular performances which will surely reduce the viewers to tears. 

I am reaching, but I fall. And the stars are black and cold. As I stare into the void, of a world that can not hold. I’ll escape now from that world, from a world of Jean Valjean. There is nowhere I can turn, there is no way to go on!”

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